I hate continuously comparing Sonic to Mario, but needless to say, that's what this week is all about. Both iconic characters have helped the game industry grow substantially over the years, and before Sega began releasing Sonic games on Nintendo platforms, the two represented not only mascots, but the faces of two competing companies. Now days, Mario is representation for growth and development, longevity and sustainability, while Sonic is merely the epitome of days gone by and all things that were once great and had their time in the sun, but just couldn't do enough to maintain relevance in the quickly growing and transforming landscape of video games.
Over the many, many years of existence, Mario games have constantly evolved and branched out to different genres in order to reach out to different audiences. What once started as side-scrolling platformers, grew to be so much more, usually with great success. The thing with Mario is that as a video game character, all of his powers and abilities come from different power-ups throughout the worlds he is placed in. Because of this, when he is put into different kinds of games and game genres than the standards that most gamers are used to seeing, it still works as a game and is as believable as anything else. More importantly, the games are still fun and enjoyable to play.
With Sonic, however, it's a much different situation. Yes, there is a tried and true formula on how to make a legit and worthwhile Sonic game, and while that has always been Sega's bread and butter for the franchise, it's not like they haven't tried to branch out and try something new. In fact, they deviated from the formula for years as a way to reintroduce Sonic to new generations of gamers, but unfortunately, they always seemed to miss the mark when it came to producing a well-done yet different Sonic games. The problem that Sonic has is that his moves and abilities and overall gameplay mechanics are all pre-existing in the character, as he doesn't rely on PEDs for what makes him Sonic. Because of this, when the core gameplay of whatever game Sonic is in changes, his charm and mystique as a memorable, lovable character disappears.
I got Sonic Unleashed for my kids several years ago, and while neither one of the boys really knew who Sonic was or had any context for his games, franchise or iconic status in the industry, I didn't get it in anticipation of of this game being what would teach them all about Sonic the Hedgehog and the epic rivalry he had with Mario back in the day. To be frank, the fact that this was a different type of Sonic game, one with a twist, is the reason I personally was interested in it and why I thought my kids would enjoy it, because in all honesty, the old and trusted Sonic gameplay doesn't reach new-age gamers.
So in this game, Sonic transforms into a Werehog at night, which drastically changes the gameplay. It goes from hyperactive sonic-speed runs through the daytime vistas (sorry for the pun), to slow and methodical platforming combat. Clearly, that is not the Sonic we all know and love, but oddly enough, I hoped it would be enough to be more than just intriguing. It wasn't until I played it again for this blog that I remember all the things that just didn't work for me.
Sure, the "classic" Sonic speed running was nice and enjoyable, even if they weren't the traditional 2D style. The game looks beautiful at times, which is refreshing for a Sonic game. While I will always favor the traditional Sonic levels, stepping outside of the box - as long as it looks this good - is suitable. That's about where the praise stops for me, however. The whole Werehog mechanic seems fine at first, but it becomes more cumbersome and flat out boring as you go. It never feels like it adds to the game, but instead takes away from the pacing and flow of the game.
Speaking of which, the stupid hubworlds that you visit and have to explore so you can talk to people and advance the game and storyline? Talk about completely taking you out of the game and forcing you to slow down. Playing a Sonic game in a slow and methodical way is not a Sonic game I want to play. Even the exciting daytime levels can't make up for everything else, which is a shame because they had something with those.
It's almost like they wanted to make a different kind of Sonic game, but were afraid of changing up the formula too much, so they only did it half way. Leaving in parts of what made classic Sonic so great into this game just made me want those classic games more, and never forced me to look at the new Sonic as something I could like.
Change is good, as long as you commit to it. If you don't, how do you expect me to?
My eight year old son came over to my pad to hang out with me for the weekend, which is significant to this blog post for many reasons. For one, he hasn't been over since I got the new systems, so it was cool to sit down with him and show him both the PS4 and the Xbox One, play around with them and put the cool features on displays for both consoles. For some reason her gravitated to the Xbox One more, partially because of the games I have for it but also because he is more familiar with Microsoft consoles. Plus, he really liked all the voice commands despite not being able to control it himself since his voice isn't registered yet. Good thing, though, as that poor Xbox One would have been worked double-time with how much he tired talking to it.
After checking out both systems when he first came over, however, he happened to notice my cousin's copy of Battlefield 4 sitting on the table. He has wanted to play the game badly, and both him and his brother have the game on their Christmas wish lists. For me, I haven't touched the game or even thought about it, because really I just don't care about the series the same way that so many others do, especially many readers of this blog.
It's not that I don't appreciate the series for what it is, because I honestly thought Battlefield 3 was a far better game than whatever Call of Duty game had come out that year, but despite it being better, it still wasn't a game for me. It probably has a lot to do with my lack of interest in multiplayer gaming, but after playing Battlefield 4 with my boy, I realize it's a whole lot more.
The game just feels overwhelming and too big. Sure, Grand Theft Auto V was a massive game, but Battlefield 4 just feels like it's impossibly big. There is too much to do, too much to see, too much to remember and just ... too much. It's too much warfare, too much everything. Sure, it's impressive and expansive, but for me and my gaming habits, it's too much to ever wrap my around.
Fortunately, it's not just me, as my boy was a little overwhelmed with it also. Now granted, this isn't a bad thing or a knock on the game. This is the type of game that is perfect for people who don't buy or play many games throughout a year, and like to just geek out and perfect one or two, dumping countless hours into it. Thankfully, this isn't an annual series, as DICE has stood firm on putting one out when they are ready, not on a yearly schedule, despite EA probably begging for it be annualized every day.
We played some multiplayer, and it was crazy. We tried the campaign and just couldn't get into it. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it, but for some reason, it made us both want to fire up Call of Duty: Ghosts and just enjoy a smaller, more compact package of warfare. Again, I can fully appreciate how good Battlefield 4 is and can be for everyone who enjoys it. And yeah, it might be a lot more realistic and immersive of a game, but is that always a good thing?
Day 339, Game 339 - BioshockRead Now
The first time I ever played Bioshock, it was because of a friend of my kids' uncle, who had just recently rented it right after it was released and brought it over to play. At the time, I don't think I even had an Xbox 360 yet, and was still trying to reacclimate myself to the video game landscape after my gaming hiatus. I knew about the game - well, I had at least heard of it - but other than that, I couldn't really care less about it. I knew the premise was that you were in a city under water, and that there were big, creepy guys with drills that chased you about, but past that, it was nothing I needed to care about at that point in my life.
Yes, it was a weird time for me, but it is forever part of my personal history timeline, and I can't change that. That time in my life helped shaped me to be the person I am today, for better or for worse, and while I realize I missed out on so much, I like to think I picked up a few positives out of it as well.
Anyway, I remember watching him playing it and still not being interested in it at all. I was asking a few questions here and there just for context about what I was watching, but it's not an easily explained game in the first place, coupled with my disinterest, and it only led to obligatory head nods and vacant stares.
And then it happened. He went to pick a lock, which was the first time I had seen this part of the game, and immediately my radar went off. I saw the pipe and water flow mini-game and perked right up. First person shooters were dead to me as a game genre, but puzzle games? Even if it was a small, brief mini-game just to unlock a safe or deactivate an alarm system, the puzzle aspect instantly made me interested in what he was playing. In fact, he was having quite a hard time figuring out how to complete them successfully, as I watched him fail over and over again.
Eventually, I got the courage to ask him if I could try to solve the pipe maze puzzle and help him out, and he graciously accepted my offer. So the next time he had to hack something, he tossed the controller to me and let me have a whirl, in which I was successful on the first try. Not to brag or anything, but those types of puzzles are my cup of tea. I love when video games challenge the mind, not just the reflexes of the hand. And that stupid little pipe game was all I needed to make me pay attention to the game.
I realize that the hacking mini-game was the least liked aspect of the game for almost everyone who played it, hence why they changed it to the much simpler hacking system in Bioshock 2. If enough people complain about something, eventually things will change. And yes, the new hacking method sped up the process exponentially, but for me, I was sad to see the pipe mini-game go away.
Years later, I would eventually decided to back to Rapture and give the game a decent shot. After all, other than the hacking, I didn't really play any of the game, and because I started watching it being played at an arbitrary point in the middle of the game, I had no idea what was going on in the storyline.
I didn't start playing it right away when I did finally purchase it for myself, however. I waited for some odd reason. Maybe I was just waiting for the right time to be in the right mood for that type of game, or maybe I just still wasn't super high on the game still, despite my previous fun with the hacking mini-games. Whatever the case was, I waited for a while. Then I had to get my wisdom teeth removed, which meant a few days off work and laying on the couch trying to recover and fight the constant pain. And to deal with the pain, lots of Vicodin were ingested, which is one of the few times in my adult life that I have heavily relied on medication to make me feel better.
Because I had nothing to do and nothing but time on my hands, I figured that would be the perfect time to play Bioshock. Yes, while heavily sedated and quite loopy from Vicodin, I journeyed to Rapture. Needless to say, it wasn't the best idea. When I think back, I realize how bizarre the game is already, but when you play it while practically hallucinating, that game became the craziest, scariest and more unbelievable game in the world. While I got the gist of what was happening, I couldn't fully wrap my head around it, because well, I felt like I couldn't even find my head at some points, as it seemed to be floating up in the clouds.
I managed to beat the game in those few days I had to myself, as the only thing I did was play Bioshock and sleep. I enjoyed it, but I missed a lot of it, so I did go back and play it again for the sake of better understanding the game, but even to this day, my memories of the game always revert back to the drug-induced mind-trip I had while playing it before.
It's funny how different a game looks when your memory or perception is greatly skewed. I realized this going back and playing some once again. Especially after playing Bioshock Infinite a few different times now, my excitement to get back into Rapture is at an all time high. While I have and have downloaded the DLC titled "Burial at Sea" which takes Booker and Elizabeth to Rapture, I have yet to play through it yet, thanks in part to all the games demanding my attention. But with that DLC chapter looming and this visit back to Rapture via the original Bioshock game, I don't know how much longer I can hold out before marathoning the whole series.
If you don't hear from me for a while, send help. I've either completely lost my mind or got stuck in an endless game of Pipe Mania.
Day 334, Game 334 - Adventure Time: Explore The Dungeon Because I DON'T KNOW!Read Now
If there was one thing that I could probably be accused of after a year long gaming session for the sake of this blog, it's simple to identify. One could easily say that if anything, I tend to like games too much. Not that I'm obsessed with games or sacrifice normal human activities or interactions in favor of playing games. No, I mean it in the sense that I find too many positives in games, talk too highly of sub-par games and generally just enjoy playing all types of games. I'm quick to defend a game that most reviewers hate, and usually end up critiquing harsh critiques of games.
Why am I like this? Mainly because I think all games deserve a chance, and if you lower expectations and hype from all games and just sit down and play them, you can usually find something to enjoy, even in the worst games. Sure, I totally understand feeling ripped off when you pay full price for a game and it turns out to be horrible, but when you buy a game, you are already interested in the first place, so why not just try to enjoy it?
The problem with our culture in this day and age is a mixture of game reviewers, retail stores over hyping new releases and more specifically, the Internet in general. If we weren't so locked in to Internet news sites and blogs and various other outlets, and didn't consumer so much information about games years before they are even released, the hype for games wouldn't be so great, thus making it harder for games to live up to expectations. We expect the best from every single game we play, and when something isn't perfect or what we expect, we generally overreact and spend more time picking out the flaws in games than we spend enjoying the good things.
Remember as kids when we would get one or two games a year? Maybe not all of us, but for me, that was the case for sure. A new game was treat and something to be cherished, especially in the NES days. And when we got a new game, we loved that game, no matter how bad it was. We would play the worst games over and over again, because that's all we had to play. Sure, we might be mad at our parents or grandparents for buying the worst of the worst, but we would still play those games. Now, we buy multiple games at a time, which means we have more to play. Add in the likes of RedBox, Gamefly and digital marketplaces, and we have never had more options for how we play games. The more options we have, the less enjoyment we find in the games we play, overall. Just a hypothesis, but I don't see how it can be any other way.
With that being said, my little girl and I rented a game to try out and play from the nearest RedBox, only because there wasn't any good movies to rent from it. She loves watching Adventure Time, and quite honestly, it is one of my guilty pleasures as well. With that, we decided to check out Adventure Time: Explore The Dungeon Because I DON'T KNOW!, a fairly new release that I just haven't had time for. I've had my eye on the game since it was announced earlier in the year, but with everything else going on in this amazing year of gaming, it fell off the radar. Until now, of course.
The game itself is okay, at best. It's a dungeon crawler, much like Diablo, but in the Adventure Time universe. It's fun seeing all the characters and familiar styles used in the game, as even the normal cartoon voice actors were brought on to make the experience an extension of the universe. Sure, it gets repetitive and while the story is quirky in typical Adventure Time fashion, it's not the best looking or well designed game.
You know what I liked best about the game, however? I loved the fact that my five year old daughter loved it, despite not really being good at it. She didn't care. She was familiar with the characters and she loved every bit of it.
Like I said, there's a silver lining on every black rain cloud. Would I buy this game for full retail price? Not a chance after playing a little bit of it. But for one night, for a couple of bucks, my daughter and I had a great time. That's all the counts, right?
"Boo! Funny thing Halloween in Arkham. It seems redundant here. Within these walls the monsters are on display year 'round. Of course, there was that one year Joker lead a breakout on All Hallows' Eve. What a wonderful night. Costumed revelers innocently partying alongside killers and fiends. Of course, the real screams came when it was time to unmask. Trick or treat."
-Calendar Man, Batman: Arkham City
For those of you who have already played Batman: Arkham City, you probably ran in to Calendar Man, at least once during your playtime. While you can visit his cell in Arkham Asylum, you actually meet him in person in Arkham City, albeit while he is locked up in his jail cell underneath the courthouse. The thing about Calendar Man is exactly what made Arkham City such an awesome game, and how much further they took the ideas from the first Arkham game and implemented them into full effect for City. The attention to detail, and how much of the Batman universe they wanted to include into the game, instead of just hints, easter eggs and subtle nods to the characters of Gotham.
You see, in Arkham City, when you go and talk to Calendar Man, he will ramble on about how many days are in each month, and pretty much insignificant babble. However, when you visit him on real-world holidays, he will break into various monologues about the crimes he committed on each of the holidays. It's a phenomenal little detail that most people wouldn't even know about if they didn't make a trophy/achievement for visiting him on each one of the 12 holidays (one per month) and listening to his stories of madness. Again, it's all the details when it comes to City.
The amount of characters in this game is mind-blowing, as well. Sure, Asylum had a lot, but City took that game and made it seem small in scope of the amount of characters it added to it. Even if the characters weren't involved in the main story line, you would encounter one after another in smaller story arcs and completely optional side missions. Even if you know which characters to expect, when you finally encounter them, there is a sense of wonderment when you finally go face to face with them.
Oh, and let's talk about the Riddler, and his plethora of trophies he has hidden all over Gotham. You run in to them all the time, as you traverse the city skyline back and forth, but most of them you can't get to because you haven't gotten that upgrade to your suit yet. This means that after you finish the game, there is still a lot more to do, if you're into that sort of thing, of course. And of course, I was, as I spent hours trying to find and collect every single Riddler trophy in the game, which I eventually did. But by doing so, I also go to see and experience a larger portion Gotham City, exploring every nook and cranny and really appreciating how much attention to detail went in to recreating a fictional city, brick by brick.
Another thing that made this game memorable for me, and easily one of my favorite games of this generation without question, was the DLC for it, which I actually went back and played through again. First, there is the Catwoman DLC, which you get to play as Selena, with her own story arcs, side missions and Riddler trophies to pursue. While that DLC was awesome, and made the world seem even bigger, it wasn't until the last piece of DLC to come out for it that I realized how special this game was. It was the Harley Quinn DLC, which takes place a couple of weeks after the end of the game, which depicts Harley taking over the thrown of madness. Even better, you get to play as the Boy Wonder, searching for Batman who has gone missing while searching for Harley, which is even more troubling given his mental state after the events of the game. Playing as Robin gives you an entirely different feel of the game, just as Catwoman does, and its nice seeing the secondary sidekicks getting a chance to shine.
Overall, if there is a distinctive Batman game, Arkham City has to be it. Never before has Gotham been placed under such a spotlight as in this game, and it's refreshing to see so much care and love placed into not only the characters, but the world in which they live in, also.
And speaking of cities, below is a link to an article everyone should read. It is exactly the reason why Batman is such an important figure in our culture, for everything he represents and stands for. And if you don't get a little choked up reading the last line of the article, well, something is wrong with you.
San Francisco to be transformed into Gotham City for a day
Back when this game came out, I was completely unsure about the game as a whole. Sure, I've been a Batman fan for as long as I could remember, but for some reason, when this game was announced and eventually released, I just didn't care much about it. I can't exactly remember exactly why I wasn't hot on the game, but something kept me from being super interested in it, even after the reviews came out and everyone was quite smitten about it.
Everything about the game screamed my name, but I didn't bite. Well, that wasn't until I was out doing some shopping on Black Friday, and at one of the stores they had some awesome deals on games. Usually the games go pretty quick for the big sales, but I was in the right place at the right time, and just happened to stumble upon them without much chaos around me, which actually allowed me to look through and pick out games I wanted to buy, a rarity for Black Friday shopping, for sure. Anyway, one of the games I decided to pick up was Batman: Arkham Asylum, which I actually bought for my oldest son, in hopes of finding a game he would actually really enjoy.
He hadn't fully discovered Call of Duty yet, which is his go-to game/series now for sure. Before COD, however, he just wasn't into games very much, not due to lack of trying on my part. Sure, he would play games here and there, but nothing ever really grabbed him. For some reason, however, I thought Arkham Asylum would enlighten his gaming senses. Well, after he opened it up, later on in the day that Christmas, we sat down together to play it, him actually playing it and me watching it, out of sheer curiosity. He got frustrated with it quickly, but I, on the other hand, fell in love with it.
And the love affair for the Arkham series has been in effect ever since.
For one, the game was gorgeous looking. Best looking Batman game ever, hands down. Then you have the open world feeling while still being quite confined in space and exploration, as you are stuck on the Island harboring Arkham Asylum, where all of Gotham's criminally insane are held for treatment. Never before have you explored the Batman universe quite like this, and it was glorious from start to finish. You are equipped with all kinds of Bat gadgets that you acquire and upgrade along the way. The combat system felt almost revolutionary at the time, as it was so fluid, smooth and effective.
But the characters. Man oh man, the characters of this game sold it for me. With Christopher Nolan's movies, we as fans started to get familiar with the more realistic spin on the the universe, most notably, the villains. But back in this game, the villains and all other characters bring you right back to the comic book world, where everyone is exaggerated and somewhat unrealistic, but simply fantastic, fascinating and imagination captivating.
Another key thing about this game is the Detective mode, where you can see objects you can interact with, see enemies through walls and essentially drown yourself with the sonar technology Batman uses. Playing this game again specifically made me realize just how much I use Detective mode, as I don't ever want to miss anything. I'm guessing I probably play the game in Detective mode about 2/3 of the time, which is fine if you like everything drenched in blue saturation, but unfortunately you miss out on all the great details in the graphics.
This game was revolutionary for its time, both in terms of Batman games having a new gold standard to live up to going forward, but also in the type of game this is. Also, at the time, this was easily one of if not the best comic book video game ever, and still remains near the top of the list today. Also, never before has this insane, crazy and frightful part of Gotham been showcased so brilliantly, which just goes to show how deep and rich this fabulous city is with personality.
After a week of Angry Birds, it's only natural that I would want a break from those types of games. At the same time, I didn't want to get too involved with another game or write about a super-serious or complex game, either, as I wanted at least a day of rest between "Week Of..." series. Also, I have tons of games to play, and while I am chipping away at the pile slowly at my own pace, I wasn't ready to add another game to the mix that I start and play for one day and promise to get back to it at some point.
So with that, I bring you a Redbox special. I just happened to be browsing a Redbox kiosk, our of sheer curiosity, and came across a new release that I had honestly forgot was even coming out, thanks in part to the ridiculous swell of video games coming out recently. For some reason, this game wasn't even on my radar, despite hearing about it and knowing it was coming out at some point.
Actually, I blame the last Turtles game, "Out of the Shadows," for ruining any excitement or hype, and killing any chance for success this game had before it even saw the light of day. That downloadable title had tons of hype and excitement for it, but once it was released, it got some very disappointing reviews, all but breaking the hearts and spirits of Turtles fans everywhere who were hoping, finally, for a good Turtles game. With that, it will be a uphill battle for any Turtles game to come afterwards, including this one.
Based on the Nickelodeon cartoon of the same name, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles returns to the fighting foursome back to its roots, if we are talking about the old arcade style games. It's a beat'em style type of game, and it works well. When this cartoon first debuted, I was unsure about the art style, but the more I see it, the more I really enjoy it. The cartoon itself is fantastic, especially the writing, and this game just carries everything that is good about the cartoon over to video games.
Look. As a lifelong Turtles fan, I feel satisfied with this game as far as what it does to the franchise itself. Unfortunately, there are far too many games out right now that are demanding my attention for me to give this game the proper attention I think it deserves, but that says more about the state of this industry then the game itself. I'm glad I rented it for a day, but I wish I could do more with it now. It's worth the attention of any Turtles fan, especially if you have a bitter taste in your mouth after the previous game.
I don't know why, but I've been on a serious superhero kick lately. I've been watching lots of old comic books turned movies, especially from the Marvel Universe, like the X-Men movies, the solo movies of the Avengers team, and so on and so forth. With the new Thor movie coming out, Guardians of the Galaxy wrapping up filming, Ant Man beginning to be made, and even the new Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. television show on, I can't help but smile about all the superhero love being spread over so many different media avenues.
And don't get me started on all things Batman related on the horizon.
Anyway, I am beginning to realize how culturally acceptable it is be a fan of superheros these days. Even when you walk up and down the Halloween costume isles in the stores, it seems like at least half of them are some form of superhero. It's actually really cool, and because of this wave I'm riding, I decided to go back and play an excellent fighting game that I love just because of what it is: Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds.
We all know by now how I feel about fighting games, but when you incorporate so many fantastic video game characters from Capcom games and pit them against an entire roster of Marvel heroes and villains, you can't count me in for sure. The game itself is fun, as I remember how renowned the second game in this series was, and the most recent addition to the series is nothing short of phenomenal.
While I completely suck at nailing awesome combos without assistance from the game, I still thoroughly enjoy the game and playing it, if only to lose myself in the world and characters. Being able to be Hulk one second, Spider-Man the next and then Magneto? Are you kidding me? Oh, and least we not forget about Deadpool, who EASILY steals the show in this game, with his constant destruction of the fourth wall. He even goes as far as to jump up and use the health bar on the screen as a weapon in the game, which is hilarious whether it is the first time you have seen it, or the last.
The Capcom characters are cool also, in their own way, especially Wesker. But for the most part, I feel like I have controlled most of these characters in games before, so the special feeling of being apart of a comic book universe as you control your favorite characters is unmatched.
It's a great fighting game, and one I enjoy going back to every so often. Unfortunately, with the Injustice game that came out earlier this year, all I can think about and wish to be true is a Marvel vs. DC game, whether it is in the style of the Injustice game or the Vs. game, I don't care, but it needs to happen, one way or another.
Okay, Microsoft. I appreciate your attempt to give your Xbox Live Gold members a reward for being gold members. You are trying to placate to the masses' outcry that Sony's PlayStation Plus service is leaps and bounds above what Microsoft offers, thanks in part to the handfuls of free games that PS+ subscribers get every month. Sure, Sony started giving away games a while ago, as an attempt to catch up with Xbox 360's online community, and while it was slow to start out with, they eventually revved up the service and started giving away tons of awesome games.
So Microsoft started giving away free games too, but unfortunately, they are few and far between, and several years old.
Wait. Have I written this before? I feel like I said the exact same stuff with the last free Xbox Live game I wrote about. I guess I could go back and check, but I don't even remember what game it was, if that tells you anything about how interested I am in their service. I guess when it feels like Microsoft doesn't even care about what they are putting out, I shouldn't bother to care either.
Anyway, the latest addition to the free game library is Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes. I had never even heard of this game before, and definitely had no idea it was a full on series. Buy hey, if there is one good thing about this year of gaming I'm going through, it is discovering new games or trying franchises that I never touched before.
So this game is interesting. It's a weird cross between puzzle games and RPGs, in a unique way I've never seen before. It seems and feels overwhelming, but with a little patience, you can grasp the core concepts. Unfortunately, I didn't have the patience needed to get deep into the game or the experience. I'm not sure if it was the puzzle aspect, the RPG aspect, the entire game itself, my lack of knowledge of the universe it takes place in, or just my complete disinterest in everything Xbox 360 these days. Whatever it was, though, I probably didn't gibe the game a fair shake, but in all honesty, it is and never will be the type of game I would invest time in to.
I know this bums out all the Xbox supporters out there, but I just don't care about the console at all anymore. Hopefully the Xbox One will rejuvenate my passion for Microsoft like I once had. Of course, they have to try as well.
My name is Josh, and I have a problem. They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, right? Well, I have a problem when it comes to gaming, and it may or may not have something to do with my unwavering desire to collect things. At first, it was just in-game collecting, but since the launch of the first Skylanders game, my collecting habit has transcended digital collecting and transformed into an obsession to collect physical gaming pieces.
Skylanders, Skylanders Giants were the biggest enablers of my addiction, but more recently with Disney Infinity and even Pokémon Rumble U, I'm finding more and more things to collect. Thankfully, I never got into collecting statues from collector's editions or stuff like that, probably because they didn't serve any purpose at all other than collecting dust, but with these NFC seri, I am able to justify it more easily. Not that I really have to justify it at all to anyone, but it keeps me from feeling horrible about myself, riddled with buyer's remorse each time I go out and buy a new character.
My eight year old son is who I got into Skylanders for originally. I got him the first game and some characters for Christmas one year, not knowing if he would dig it or not. Well, he fell in love with it immediately, and I knew what that meant: we would be investing much more into this game than originally thought. Again, at first, it was all for him, but the more time I spent hunting down hard-to-find characters, the more I fell in love with the collecting process. It was the thrill of the hunt, the satisfaction of finding one left, and then the reward of adding it to the growing collection.
Eventually we finished off all the Skylanders in the first series, and then with Giants, we just recently did the same. Unfortunately, because of the upheaval of familial status that happened which led to me moving out, our bond over the series and the collection we amassed would change drastically. I'm not around all the time to talk to him about the ones we don't have, bring home new ones and just genuinely enjoy the games with each other. It sucks, but it's totally something I'm trying my best to adapt to.
Well, with his birthday conveniently falling so close to the release of the newest Skylanders game, Swap Force, it was only inevitable that I get the game for him. His little sister and I went out to the store early in the morning to pick up the starter pack for him, and while she wanted to pick out a new, additional character to give him for his birthday, I chose not to dive in to the investment as I normally would. For one, I don't want to be that guy who feels like sticking it to the ex by going above and beyond with gifts for the kids, because that's not my style. But also, I have a plan for collecting this series of Skylanders figures.
You see, when the PS4 is released, I think I am going to get this game for myself. According from people in the know, the PS4 version seems to be the definitive version of this game. That makes me excited, for sure. But also, I really want to play the game, enjoy the game, and collect the figures for myself, since I can't really do that with my boy like I used to. So instead of buying him all the figures and letting him keep them at his mom's house where they will go unappreciated and probably end up in a box or gone before I know it, I figure I can collect them, and if he wants to borrow them sometimes, or just play the game over here when he comes over, that would work.
I also realized that I really want all of the series 1 and 2 Skylanders as well, if I'm going to be jumping into series 3. Part of me just wants to go and start buying all the old ones, but I don't know how hard that will end up being, much less expensive. I then wonder if my boy would want to keep them over here with me at some point, either when he loses interest in the series or just because he would have more fun with them with me anyway. I'm not sure which route to go with this, but it's proof that my addiction to collecting is reaching all-time highs.
The game itself is fun, by the way. The new characters are fun, especially the swapping ones. While swapping bottoms and tops of figures with other ones seems gimmicky, it actually adds some unique strategy to the game that it's been missing in previous entries, from what I can tell from the time I spent with it. But honestly, I can't wait to see what this game looks like on the PS4. It's going to be sweet, I'm sure.
So do I really have a problem? I don't know. It's fun collecting all these things, and since they have a purpose, it makes it far more enjoyable. I like the Disney characters because, well, they are Disney characters, and Disney is just awesome. I like the Pokémon figures for nostalgia purposes, and because they are a lot cheaper. I haven't fully committed to them, though, in hopes of real Pokémon figures and a game being in the developmental pipeline. And the Skylanders figures? They are unique, original, and make me remember back to my childhood when I was always using my imagination to create crazy monsters and creatures. They are really cool characters and they seem to keep getting better, despite it being a massive cash cow.
Maybe this is just a cry for help. Maybe not. Either way, the first step is done.
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